A word that doesn’t persuade: blatant

Writing a persuasive document? May I suggest a word to avoid? Avoid the adjective blatant and its adverb form, blatantly. Labeling something as blatant (“offensively conspicuous”) or describing someone as acting blatantly does not persuade. Better to describe the behavior and, if it’s genuinely blatant, its . . . blatancy . . . will be obvious.

Some real examples:


The Appellees’ true motive for proffering this evidence was to inflame the jury with this blatantly irrelevant evidence.

  • And yet the trial judge admitted the evidence. Not that trial judges never err, but given that the evidence was admitted, is its irrelevance really “offensively conspicuous”?

Stretching the meaning:

A gate that forces one to exit the car to open and close it is, however, clearly and blatantly an obstruction that interrupts free access.

  • Okay, that might clearly be an obstruction (I’ll discuss clearly later), but is it blatantly an obstruction? This use stretches the meaning of blatantly and makes it an all-purpose intensifier (like very), ignoring the “offensive” component of the meaning.

Failing to persuade:

This is a blatant misrepresentation of the evidence in the record. Although portions of Zavala’s safety incident were partially re-enacted, the record reveals multiple differences between the re-enactment and Zavala’s accident, including substantial differences in job status, setting, physical acts performed, and the purpose for performing the acts.

  • Try this instead:

“The record shows four key differences between the re-enacted safety incident and Zavala’s accident. Although the re-enactment showed job status A, Zavala’s job status was B. The re-enactment showed setting C, but Zavala’s accident occurred in setting D. The re-enactment showed physical acts W, whereas the accident involved physical acts X. Moreover, the purpose of the acts was Y, yet the accident involved purpose Z.”

  • Or this: